Information on Thomas Cr.
Rating: III-IV *
Location: Newton Co; Put in is reached by taking Shiloh
Rd. east of Hwy. 21 just south of Mossville. Drive for
0.2 miles and take the small dirt road on the right.
Descend the hill keeping to the right all the way down.
After you pass a small clearing on the left the road switches
back to the right. This is a prudent place to park and
hike down to the creek (unless you have a really good 4 wheel
drive and a winch!). The take out is reached by
following the right fork of Shiloh Rd. to the low water slab
that is the take out for the East Fork of the Little Buffalo.
Topo Quad(s): Murray
Gradient: 110 fpm (upper 2 miles at 140 fpm)
Length: 4.5 mi.
Gauge: Only runnable after heavy local rains. The Buffalo should
probably be two feet or more over the low water bridge at Ponca.
You may be able to predict the levels using the Buffalo R. rain
gauges which are linked below. The Swain and Deer gauges are
the ones to watch.
LINK BUFFALO NATIONAL R. GAUGES (UPDATED HOURLY)
Hazards: killer attack trees, big drops, high gradient
Description: First known run of this creek was in March of 1988
by Randy Jackson and his gang. The gradient in the first
two miles is a steady 140 fpm. Some big drops are created
as the boulder choked creek races down a small gorge. A
ten ft. fall is encountered near the beginning of the run.
This fall is very rocky at the bottom, and equipment or
paddler damage is a very real possibility there. You can
portage this one on the left. The next two miles consist
of nearly constant tricky class III drops. Stay on your toes
in this section. At one point a boulder and log sieve makes
for a mandatory 200 yard portage, and strainers can easily
block the narrow creek almost anywhere. One of the rapids was
dubbed "Action Jackson" in '88 when an undercut on the left of
a zig-zag staircase drop swallowed Randy Jackson's paddle.
The paddle was retrieved several days later after the water
level had dropped. The gradient continues to produce some
good rapids until just upstream of the EFLB confluence when
everything flattens out for the next half mile. This is
a fun run for advanced boaters who are used to narrow, high
gradient Ozark creeks, but it could be a nightmare for the
unprepared. Get very comfortable on runs such as Richland Cr.
before trying Thomas Cr.
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